February 25, 2024

Nubian Rose is a female fronted Swedish hard rock band with touches of symphonic metal that was formed in 2012 by the incredibly powerful and larger than life vocalist singer Sofia Lilja who doubles up on piano with Christer Akerlund on guitar, synths, bass and vocals with additional drums from Thomas Weinesjo and Michael Karlsson.

Nubian Rose released their self-financed debut, Mountain, in 2012 with Mental Revolution following on rather rapidly in 2014 but it has taken a further 10 years for album number three to see the light of day. I haven’t heard the first two albums but, by all reports, Amen is a heavier and more progressive album very much built around the crunching guitars of Akerlund and the incredibly intense voice of Lilja who rivals any air raid warning for intensity and sheer decibels. However, there are plenty of restrained and introverted moments with Lilja showing the full talents of her range and there are some truly delicious keyboards too.

It may be an much over used word but the term epic truly does sum up the approach of Nubian Rose as they throw everything into their music and as much emotion as you can handle to produce a real roller coaster album that soars to incredible heights with, paradoxically so much power but with an intricate and deft touch than borders on genius. Check out the near 10-minute Lost In The Mist which is progressive metal at its finest and surely worth the cost of the album alone.

The music is cinematic and huge in scope with the musicians allowed full sway to express themselves so we get thunderous drums that would not be out of place on a Priest or Maiden album with Akerlund showing that he is a truly exceptional multi-instrumentalist and as adept on keyboards as he is on guitar and trust me he is one hell of a guitarist! You also need to check out the album closing Gonna Get Close To You which was written by the Canadian artist Dalbello (who I was lucky enough to see supporting Marillion at the Wembley Arena back in 1987) with Lilja wringing every ounce of emotion out of the song with her stunning version which, incidentally, was also covered by Queensrÿche on their 1986 album Rage For Order.

Amen is an album that ticks so many metal boxes being hard and heavy old-school metal and progressive and symphonic metal at the same time which sounds a strange combination but just one listen confirms that Nubian Rose is a band that sets trends rather than follows them and if you have any love of metal at all then you need to get hold of this quite outstanding album.

I’m off now to check out their other albums and am immensely looking forward to it because if they are only half as good as Amen then they are going to be outstanding too. I’m not sure why I have not come across Nubian Rose before but, as they say, better late than never. What a thrilling album and what a truly outstanding voice from Sofia Lilja makes Amen an early contender for record of the year.

Amen

  1. Memorial (2:29)
  2. Dramatic Day (5:02)
  3. Break Down The Walls (5:44)
  4. Running (4:25)
  5. Lost In The Mist (9:52)
  6. Red Sky (4:37)
  7. Desert Night (4:36)
  8. Holy Roar (5:29)
  9. Bright Light (3:49)
  10. Gonna Get Close To You (4:28)